Zenith CH 650 Performance with UL Power engine

We finally had the chance to document some basic performance numbers of our new CH 650 with the UL Power UL350iS engine.  Yesterday was a beautiful autumn day so Zenith demo pilot Roger and I took the CH 650 up for a few flights.  Our new demo airplane is equipped with dual Dynon SkyView glass panel displays so I took my video camera to document the flights. Below are various screen shots (we'll edit the video together when we get the chance).

The CH 650 at Mexico Memorial Airport (KMYJ): Elevation 822 feet, Temperature: About 10-deg. C (~50 deg. F.)

Take-off distance is surprisingly short at 300 - 400 feet (video obviously shows this better) with the wheels lifting off at about 45 mph.  The UL350iS engine is equipped with a ground-adjustable 65-inch Whirl Wind propeller.

Here we climb at about 1,000 fpm with an airspeed in the low nineties, which is a comfortable climb speed with good over-the-nose forward visibility (a steeper climb angle yields about 1,200 fpm climb rate).

Here we level for cruise at 2,100-ft ASL, indicating 138 mph.  Notice the TAS and GS below the airspeed "dial" on the left.  Below is the 7-inch Dynon SkyView display (in front of the right seat):

Cruising at 136 mph in a slight left bank.  Here's a near full panel view:

We then continued to climb to 5,000 ft.

Notice that even in the direct sun the SkyView screens are bright.

Here we demonstrate some slow flight.  With flaps and 2,000 rpm, we maintain altitude at just 44 mph indicated airspeed (though notice the nose up attitude).  Slow flight handling is nice, and stalls are very predictable.  
With the UL350iS engine's FADEC system there in no carburetor heat or mixture control!

With some flaps, approach speed is about 60 mph with excellent forward visibility.  Ground roll is barely longer than take-off at a few hundred feet.

We're very pleased with the Zenith CH 650 aircraft with the UL350iS.  It's a dream to fly and offers outstanding visibility and excellent flight characteristics, while being simple to operate.

We invite you to try it out for yourself!  Contact us to schedule a demo flight in this nice aircraft.


Sebastien Heintz,
Zenith Aircraft Company


(We plan to present the above in video format).

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Comment by Paul Leigh on November 5, 2011 at 1:44pm
Fair enough. Maybe I'm expecting too much form this engine. When I see engines from the 60s in a PA-28 burning 8-9 gph and I'm used to a Rotax 912S burning 3-4 gph I was hoping for some middle ground based on it being fuel injected and no wasteful carbs to worry about. I'll look out for the expanded performance stats with interest. Thanks (in the UK where 8gph is currently £47 [$75] per hour)
Comment by Sebastien Heintz on November 5, 2011 at 12:41pm

Good points.  We'll plan to run a series of legs at different power settings: 55% - 75%

The UL350iS definitely puts out more power than the Rotax or Jabiru... we're still playing with props for best overall results.

Comment by Stephen R. Smith on November 5, 2011 at 10:19am

Realistically power does not get you lots of speed in a light-sport airplane.  They are not built for speed.  In these aircraft, “extra” power is for climbing and mountain flying. Fuel consumption goes up quickly as speed goes over 115 MPH.

I am reasonably sure a Rotax 912 will not push the 650 to 138 MPH.

My Jabiru motor can get the airplane to 140 MPH but it will be burning more like 9 to 11 GPH so 7.6 is good for 138 MPH.

A more realistic fuel-conscious sustained speed for a 601/650 is 100 to 115 MPH with best fuel consumption being down around 90 MPH. 

Personally I am more interested in fuel burn in the 90 to 115 MPH range because that is what the airplane is designed for and that is how I fly it.


Comment by Sebastien Heintz on November 5, 2011 at 10:04am
It averages less than the indicated 7.6 gph: we seem to burn around 6 gph over time.  We'll make sure to document this (with photos / videos) shortly.
Comment by Joe McGough on November 5, 2011 at 9:32am
I noticed that at 2100ft ASL and 138mph the Dynon showed 7.6 gal/hr fuel supply. Do you think that is correct. If so, not bad.

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